There are three unconscious questions that the people you’re leading are asking themselves about you all the time.

You’re being evaluated

It’s important for you as a leader to realise that – whether you’re leading a team, or a project, or a client – you’re being evaluated constantly by others.

What’s important for you to work out is how you’re rating on these three questions with the people you’re leading.

So what are the three unconscious questions that people are asking themselves about you, whether you like it or not?

Question 1:  Can you be trusted?

You know this yourself, right?  You’re not going to follow someone you don’t trust.  As soon as you sense there’s something a bit untrustworthy, you’re not going to fully follow that person, are you, whether they’re your manager, or their trying to sell you something.

Question 2:  Are you committed to excellence?

What that means is, are you any good at what you do.  Are you great at your job?  Do you seem passionate about it?  Do you know what you’re talking about?

Question 3: Do you care about me as a person?

Is it all about you and what you want, or do you care about me and what I want?

So it’s about trust, it’s about commitment, and it’s about care.

But here’s the thing.  Every person has a different definition, a different meaning, to what trust, commitment and care really means to them.

And when you’re able to actually discover what trust, commitment and care means to the person you’re communicating to, or the team you’re communicating to, when you enter how they view the world – not how you view the world – that’s when they feel like you get them, you understand them.

Feeling understood comes before influence

Because it’s only when someone feels like you get them, and you respect them, that you have influence with them.  Then – and only then –  can you start to lead.

Now the reason why I thought I’d share this with you is that I believe that it’s a cornerstone principle for leadership success.  The principle of The Map is not the Territory.  Which means how you see the world – your “map” of the world, is different from another person’s “map” of the world.   For you, demonstrating you care might mean giving someone a pat on the back for work well done, but for someone else, in their map of the world, care might mean you asking them about their personal life, how their family is.

Learning to map-read

It’s been said that in excess of 90% of our success in life, in our career and in any part of life, comes from our ability to efficiently, effectively and accurately enter other people’s maps of the world.

If you can’t enter other people’s maps of the world, you putting a really low ceiling on your ability to lead them, you’re dramatically reducing your ability to lead them.  Because you’re not helping them feel understood.  You’re not communicating to them in a way that gets through.  Your models of the world clash.

I trust this is making sense.  So I’ll say it again.  In excess of 90% of your success will come from your ability to enter people’s worlds.

The challenge

My challenge for you is to consider the key people in your professional life and start thinking about what they would consider to be behaviour that demonstrates trust, and commitment, and care.  What would it take for them to see you as trustworthy, as committed, and as caring?

It may very well be different from your definitions of trust, commitment and care.

Because once you know their definition, you can interact with them with that awareness in mind.

And they see you as a leader.